CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A Chattanooga mother is warning other parents after she found parasites in her son's eye after he went swimming in Harrison Bay.
Melissa Brown said her 12-year-old son, Cole Angland, was enjoying his first taste of summer vacation when he said his eyes were hurting.
"I lifted his eyelashes to look and you could tell it was something like embedded in his eye," Brown said.
She said she took him to the Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
Once they arrived at the hospital, she said the nurses started trying to get the parasites out of his eye.
"After a few times digging, they started like kind of slithering down and I was able to catch them as they were coming down his face," Brown said.
She said she caught several parasites, which were the size of a grain of rice.
Medical paperwork shows nurses treated Cole with antibiotic eye drops.
However, it wasn't until after the hospital visit that Melissa started wondering if the hospital was supposed to notify the state or test the bug to learn more about what it was.
She said she was only told it was a type of parasite.
"I wasn't even thinking about them sending them off, what they were supposed to do with them, test them, how all that was supposed to work, until I saw her throw them in the garbage," Brown said.
She said she sent a follow-up email to Erlanger to express her concerns, but the hospital replied with a survey to ask if she was satisfied with her visit.
"The doctor, the nurses were absolutely amazing, but I feel like there should be something in place, if you pull any foreign object out of a child's eye then maybe you should be required to send it off," Brown said.
According to officials at the Hamilton County Health Department, hospitals aren't required to report parasite cases, unless they involve a type of parasite called Crypto.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a Crypto is the leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the United States.
It's not clear what type of parasite Cole picked up.
WRCB, the NBC affiliate in Chattanooga, reached out to Erlanger for a comment but have not heard back.
For now, Cole said he plans to take a pair of goggles with him next time he takes a swim in the lake.